Monday, February 23, 2015

Teishins Over the Years

Silver and Gold Teishins
Above you will see several different teishin designs that I have made over the years.  The left two were designed by my Japanese acupuncture teacher from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine; K.C. Conover.  The original was a chrome plated dental tool that he had shortened the handle and sharpened the tip of.  He lent me the original tool so that I could make a mold and produce a few copies for him.   It is an excellent design, but I feel that it is a bit top heavy and tends to make one's concentration go away from the point being stimulated.  Of course with acupuncture tools everything is a compromise; having the heavy top also makes the top useful as a heavy probe or even to be stroked along the meridian as you would use an enshin.  The shortened version of this tool on the far left has a more balanced feeling and makes an excellent pediatric tool.  Although versatile, if I were to only have one teishin, one of these two teishins would not be it.  In my opinion the most important aspect of the teishin is it's fine tip.

The two teishins to the right are a heavyweight silver teishin with machined end and a "classic" style 18k gold teishin.  The heavy silver teishin is my personal favorite.  It is made of 7 gauge sterling silver rod that is forged with heat and hammer to form the fine point.  This forging process aligns the grain of the silver making it both hard and stiff, contributing to a durable tool.  The milling on the blunt end gives it a little style while adding some traction for deeper pressure.  Because the blunt end is a larger surface area the pounds per square inch (or fraction of an inch in this case) decreases drastically compared to the sharp end.  In this way more pressure must be applied to this end of the tool to create change in the meridian.  The end milling gives just a little extra purchase and allows the user to focus on the point and not the gripping/ pinching of the shaft.   The gold teishin is more or less a classic or common teishin design.  It is made of  16 gauge gold rod, so significantly smaller diameter than the silver teishin.  18k gold is heavier (by a factor of 1.5) and stiffer than sterling of the same diameter.  This allows us to make a fine needle-like teishin that still retains good stiffness and mass to feel substantial in the hands.  When I make a sterling silver teishin in the classic design I prefer to use at least 2 gauges heavier to compensate for the lower mass and stiffness of this material.  Conversely, I find a gold teishin made of 7 gauge wire to be a bit too heavy in the hands and prefer the 16 gauge (This is also nice because the cost differences between the two sizes is substantial).  The lengths of the two teishins on the right are 3.5 and 3 inches.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

2015 Pricelist

Here is a general outline of how I price my tools.  I will list the tools I generally sell the most frequently, but I am happy to make any variation or custom order that you would like.  Gold prices are subject to change. Please contact me at or call/text me at 406-780-1387 for more information.

Insertion Tubes:
Sterling silver insertion tubes round cross-section with end milling detail:  70$ up to 52mm length
Sterling silver insertion tubes hexagonal cross-section:  75$ up to 52mm length
18k gold insertion tube round with end milling heavyweight 52mm x 7 gauge: 400$
18k gold insertion tube round lightweight: varies by needle handle diameter
 *other lengths are available please call for pricing

Heavy sterling silver teishin 3" x 7 gauge with end milling: 75$
Heavy sterling silver teishin 3.5" x 7 gauge with end milling: 82.50$
Heavy sterling silver teishin 4" x 7 gauge with end milling: 90$
18k gold  heavy teishin 3" x 7 gauge with end milling: 550$
All the above teishins can be made with a zanshin end for the same cost.
18k classic gold teishin with one ball end and one sharp end 3" x 14 gauge: 200$

Sterling silver enshin 9mm ball x 7 gauge blunt, ball or sharp ended: 125$
Sterling silver standard yoneyama: 60$
Sterling silver "fish" yoneyama: 150$
Sterling silver heragata cylindrical: 75$
Sterling silver derma roller with copper handle: coming soon!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Why Guide Tubes?

(L-R) copper round, silver round, long silver round, 18K gold hexagon, silver hexagon tubes
Over the years of making acupuncture needle insertion tubes I have found that many people don't quite understand the need for them.  The majority of my orders have been for teishins, and although I believe teishins are an important part of every acupuncturists tool kit, I think practitioners are missing out on the most important tool for their arsenal.  One of the biggest reasons for their usefulness is that, since we use needles on every patient, we will use a guide tube on every patient.  As a student I used the stainless steel hexagonal guide tubes that are commonly sold.  At that time I didn't find any fault in them.  Even after making my first couple of 18k gold tubes I was not sensitive enough to notice the differences between them.  When I  made my first silver tube, I had a profound realization of their value.  I was needling the abdomen of a patient when I noticed the tube itself had an amazing softness.  The highly polished surface that can only be achieved on non-ferrous metals gave the tube a non-metallic feel.  While the stainless tubes I had been using felt inert and lifeless, the silver tube was gentle, warm, and receptive.  As I palpated this particular patient's abdomen I began to carry myself with the same energetic that the tube possessed; quiet, calm, and gentle, I began to percieve the acupuncture points on a more subtle level.  Myself becoming soft and able to receive.  My palpation became more gentle, the tube gliding into the points as if some invisible force were directing it there.  For this simple lesson they have taught me, I still find myself most enamored with the sterling silver tubes over the other metals.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How I Began Making Acupuncture Needle Insertion Tubes

Gold, Silver, and Copper Insertion Tubes
 In 2006 I began the website; specifically for the sale of gold and silver acupuncture insertion tubes (this website is no longer available).   It actually began earlier than that in my final year of acupuncture school at Pacific College; 2003, when my Japanese acupuncture teacher asked me to make him a gold tube.  I first wanted to buy manufactured tubing with a heavy wall thickness.  I could find companies that would make such tubing but they wanted orders of at least 20k dollars to make this special and unusual size.  I then attempted to make tubing by drilling both ends of some gold rod in special jig I made for my drill press.  This was a painstakingly slow process that was hardly accurate enough.  The greatest hazard was that these small drill bits were prone to binding and would often break inside the tube, wasting the precious gold.  I did come up with a couple tubes at that time but I never thought I would want to do it again.  A couple years later my father found an old Emco metal lathe at an auction and I became its lucky new owner. Although making tubes was now more accurate, the added power of the lathe was more prone to broken bits.  After making 20 tubes or so and learning many little tricks I had learned how to drill the bores for the tubes accurately, and without breakage!  Now, I could produce a heavier weight tube which felt more substantial and had gentle edges for a very comfortable needle insertion. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Neck Needle Pendant

Neck Needles;
My brother, his wife and children have all gotten into barefoot running. Impressively after only 6 months my brother is up to 20 miles barefoot and his wife 12!  They are truly inspirational.  We did quite a bit of running with them last thanksgiving and really enjoyed it, unfortunately living in Montana makes it difficult to run without shoes year round, since your feet would soon become purple, frost bitten and gangrene from the bitter cold.  Where they live in Prescott, AZ. They can run year long in the desert but they do have plenty of thorns.  This is why my Christmas gift to them this year were neck needles.  These were hand turned from solid sterling bar, first hollowed then threaded,   and decorated with some milling accents.  Finally a stainless needle was made that fit in the handle (a sterling silver needle could also be made which would fit in the handle for a portable teishin).  Now they always have a needle around their neck for when they "forget" their shoes.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Shonishin Tools

This was a recent commission of Shonishin tools for Shaun Sutton from the United Kingdom.  I must say I really enjoy my clients from the UK, they are exceptionally polite, kind, and insightful.  They also make me feel the acupuncture education there is superior to the United States, or at least the continuing education possibilities are much more extensive.  It is always nice to get clients that are full of new ideas and I get to learn something new or have to try some new techniques in my tool making.  Shaun sent me a copy of his book; "How Toxic Are My Trousers," and I highly recommend it.  Shaun is a man of great sensitivity and thinks very deeply about the way he lives.  He has even chosen as an acupuncturist to not use standard stainless needles, because he finds the metal does not resonate with him personally and therefore influences the treatment in a negative way.  I feel blessed to work with someone with such high standards that shares my love for silver acupuncture tools.

From top to bottom you will find a modified honeybee shaped heragata, a teishin/enshin, and a fish shaped yoneyama.  Shaun has a 7 month old daughter so she is one lucky girl!   Heragatas are generally flat but this one was made cylindrical so that there are no sharp edges.  The blunt end glides smoothly over the skin and has a wonderful warming effect, while the "stinger" may be used to stimulate specific points.  The teishin/ Enshin is finer than most enshins with a 9 mm ball.  I feel this size is much nicer for general treatment and has a very nice balanced feel.  The "fisheyama" has a normal yoneyama tail while the dorsal fin is also sharpened for a larger yoneyama blade surface while the belly is more gentle and round for techniques such as guasha.  The nose is good for stimulation of individual points and "fish kisses."  I love setting stones in my yoneyamas so this one received a blue topaz.
Shonishin Tools